Estate planning experts talk a lot about probate and the legal process, but sometimes they forget to mention that it takes a specially trained lawyer to successfully navigate the probate process. Probate law is unlike civil or criminal law in many ways, and you need an expert on your side if you are going to get through the probate process successfully. As you start the process of looking for a probate lawyer, it helps to understand what you can expect from one of these specialized legal experts.
A probate attorney will help to separate non-probate assets from assets that will need to go through the probate process, and help to get the values for items such as real estate and family heirlooms. In many states, the value of a property at probate differs based on the value at the death date and the value when the property was first acquired by the deceased. It can be a complicated thing to get the proper values on all of your probate property, and that is just one thing a probate attorney does for you.
In every state, the probate process is filled with a seemingly unending trail of paperwork. If you want the probate process to go smoothly, then you need to have all of your paperwork submitted on time and filled out correctly. One of the most important jobs of a probate attorney is to see to it that the paperwork you need to help the process along is filed correctly.
If you are the administrator of the estate, then handling estate finances during probate can be very complicated. The court will tell you what assets you can liquidate and what cash resources you can access to handle the estate's accounts, but there is also the issue of making sure that the estate is able to live up to the probate ruling when it is finally handed down. A good probate attorney can be an invaluable resource to an estate administrator when it comes to handling estate debts.
The beneficiaries and family members involved in a probate process rarely allow the process to go through without some kind of dispute. A prolonged dispute could keep pushing the process back until it could be years before probate is finally completed. A probate attorney mediates these disputes and helps all parties to understand the best solutions to any issues.
If real estate is not going to be sold to satisfy estate debts, then it needs to be retitled into the name of the beneficiary who is going to get the property. When probate has been completed, someone has to make sure that the distribution of assets goes exactly as the will and the courts want it to go. The probate attorney works with the estate administrator to make sure that the final distribution of assets goes as smoothly as possible.
When it is time for the estate of a loved one to go through the probate process, you will need a specialized probate attorney to make sure everything goes as it is supposed to. The probate process is long, and there are plenty of surprises waiting for estate administrators, family members, and beneficiaries. With the help of a good probate attorney, the process can be completed and the estate can be closed quickly and efficiently.